Amy Duggar admits she secretly ‘kissed boys and wore bathing suits’ as a teenager despite Uncle Jim Bob’s strict rules
AMY Duggar grew up secretly kissing boys, wearing swimsuits and listening to rock music while her cousins lived under the strict rules of her ultra-religious uncle, Jim Bob.
Amy, 36, told the US Sun in an exclusive interview how she was forced to hide much of her lifestyle from the rest of her family growing up whenever she saw them.
“I didn’t grow up in a strict household,” explained Amy, who is the daughter of Jim Bob’s sister Deanna Jordan.
“Mine was more like, I had rock music, I wore bathing suits, I kissed boys and I kind of lived.
“But it must have been disconcerting every time I went to my cousins.
“I would try not to wear something that showed my shoulders, I wouldn’t show my knees.”
Amy added that she tried to “play by their rules”, although she said she “didn’t understand them at all”.
The Duggar family shot to fame in the mid-2000s on the hit TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting.
The show followed Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle as they raised their 19 children under incredibly strict rules that preached the importance of modesty and ultra-conservative beliefs.
Among the various rules imposed by Jim Bob and Michelle, there was the prohibition of any dance and any modern music.
According to the Duggar mantra, modern music is too sexual and impure, and dancing could fuel sexual desires.
Additionally, all women were required to dress modestly, covering their shoulders, chest and legs – even at the beach.
The Duggar girls were required to wear modest bathing suits that covered almost their entire body.
The ill-fitting garment covered them from the neck to below the knees.
They were also not allowed to hold hands with their partners until they were engaged and had to save their very first kiss for the altar.
Jim Bob even read all of his daughters’ text messages when they were growing up, responding to any messages he disapproved of himself.
While Amy says she could never have imagined growing up in such a strict and stuffy environment, she tried as best she could to “respect” the lifestyle that Jim Bob imposed.
“I tried to respect him to a point,” she said.
“I wasn’t going to say, ‘It’s me and I’m wearing black…grrr!'” Amy added, mimicking a ghoul.
“I wasn’t going to show them my kind of style and stuff, so it was a really weird balance.”
While some of Amy’s cousins have since rebelled against Jim Bob’s rule, she estimates that at least half of them still follow her uncle’s laws to the hilt.
She said: “It’s been so ingrained in their minds since they were very young that they follow the rules, they follow them and will follow them.
“[They’re told] ‘you will love your father and your mother and you will respect them and you will not ask questions. It’s your authority’ – and that’s how it is.
“Even for me, I didn’t ask questions for a very long time. I didn’t understand it, but I didn’t want to ruffle those feathers.
“But that’s what it is at this point. I’m in my thirties now and I don’t care anymore.”
Amy’s husband Dillon King, who sat with her during The US Sun’s interview, was less PC in his views on the Duggar lifestyle.
“[Imitating Jim Bob and Michelle] ‘You have no mind. Do what I say.’
“It’s crazy!” he said. “That’s crazy…I just call it that.”
DANCING WITH THE STARS?
Although Amy does not live under Jim Bob’s roof, some of her uncle’s beliefs have also impacted her own life and career.
While filming 19 Kids and Counting – which Amy appeared on frequently – she was approached to appear on Dancing With The Stars.
However, Amy was forced to turn down the opportunity due to Duggar’s belief that dancing is a “sin”.
“I didn’t refuse. Are you kidding me? I would have loved to,” Amy enthused when asked about the offer to join the competition.
“I’ve never danced a day in my life… but come on, let’s go.
“Go Disney. Go ABC. I’m ready.”
Amy has not named who stopped her from taking part in the ballroom dancing extravaganza, but a source close to the family previously told The US Sun it was Jim Bob who pulled the plug.
“Well, my family doesn’t believe in dancing, and…I was on the show at the time,” Amy said.
“And so it was turned down – very quickly – because…they didn’t want me to dance because it’s a ‘sin’.
“And they told me that I couldn’t [take part] just because it’s wrong and it’s not what women do.”
“DO NOT MISS”
19 Kids and Counting was finally canceled in 2015 after nine seasons and 227 episodes when shocking allegations emerged that Jim Bob’s son Josh Duggar molested five underage family members as a teenager.
Amy began to distance herself from the family following the scandal.
She appeared in just five episodes of the family spin-off Counting On, which did not feature Josh, before deciding to call it quits.
Counting On was eventually canceled in June 2021 after Josh was arrested for child pornography.
When asked if she missed starring in any of the Duggar Family shows, Amy insisted she didn’t, but said she had fond memories of that time.
“The adventures were great,” she said. “I mean, we’ve been everywhere everywhere, it was crazy and so much fun [and] you can’t get that back, you know?
“So those are like essential memories that I have. But going forward, I really like the direction life is going.”
NEVER SAY NEVER
If the opportunity arises to star in her own reality show in the future, Amy said she would be “up in the air” about the idea.
But, if she was able to truly be herself, without some of the “choreography” that can sometimes be orchestrated by producers on such shows, then she would definitely consider it.
“I think I would if I could really be myself, and what you see is what you get, so yeah,” Amy said.
“But at the same time, I want to protect my son and if we have future children, or whatever, I would also like to protect them.
“With the TV and the cameras, as you can see, there’s a camera on me right now,” she continued, pointing to the lens, “and we have nothing to hide. Skeletons are already there.”